Editor: CNN’s coverage of Malaysian mystery controversial


Opinion Editor

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With twenty-four hour news networks growing popularity around the country, we are seeing more and more updates of information and less investigative newsworthy reporting. When I look at my new source, CNN, I see this everyday.

As a communication arts major and a journalism in the public interest minor, I am constantly questioning the ethical choices that go behind reporting in today’s media society. Because of media technology in our generation, there is now a shift from investigating reporting to short snips of updated information

Three weeks ago, I couldn’t go onto one website without finding some new detail about the missing Malaysian flight across the center of the CNN home page. With different connections and possible leads updating almost daily, any piece of information was leaked to the press and then published.

One idea that I picked up was that a lot of the information was not confirmed before it was released, so a lot of the news came up to dead ends. This not only confused the audience and maintained the ‘mystery’ aspect of the news story, but it also made the families become part of this whirlwind of confusion of events. After this story, I thought CNN would refrain from running any developments on the missing flight unless it was confirmed information.

Two weeks ago, CNN published a story regarding the emotional reactions of the victims’ families and how media tends to publish everything without necessarily being sensitive to all audiences in this time of tragedy. After this story, I thought CNN would refrain from running any developments on the missing flight unless it was confirmed information.

However, at the beginning of this week, I opened my CNN app and found yet another story plastered on the front page. It is obvious that CNN believes this brings in the most audiences, so they still continue to run every piece of information. Is there anything different this time? They made a list of possibilities regarding the truth of the information.

According to the headline, two separate pulses were heard on a ship near the Indian Ocean, where the plane was expected to go down. However, in order to keep CNN clear of falsifying and implying more with this yet to be confirmed information, they tried something different. The title of this piece was: MH370: Is it the pinger? Four reasons to believe; six reasons to doubt.

Instead of going with one side of a small piece of information, the article dove into the reasons why this could be part of the plane, but also why it is still doubtful. CNN wants to publish any information still, but I am concluding that by publishing it in this format, they are saving their butts from criticism. By publishing pieces about sensitivity and then going back running every new piece of information, is CNN being hypocritical or ahead of the news?

Are the constant updates making us more informed citizens or simply products of technology?